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Pills of Heritage: Where we come from.


The year was 1851. Queen Victoria was on the throne - and Britain was on a high. In London's Hyde Park the Great Exhibition was created, showcasing the greatest display of material assets the world had ever witnessed. Meanwhile, on Regent Street in the heart of Mayfair, a gentlemen’s tailor named John Emary was shaping his own contribution to history. Emary and his fellow tailors had spent many years attempting to perfect the technique of treating wool fabrics to make them waterproof. By 1853, that breakthrough was finally achieved. They had created a near miraculous rain repellent cloth which remained soft and flexible at all times.

John Emary

Realising the significance of their discovery, Emary instantly renamed his company "Aquascutum", which joined together the two Latin words meaning "water" and "shield". Almost immediately, he was deluged with orders for his revolutionary rain repellent cloth. The rest, as they say, is history.


Among Aquascutum's earliest patrons was one of Britain's foremost fashion icons- the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VIl. So impressed was he with what Aquascutum were able to create for him that in 1897 he granted them their first Royal Warrant - the first of many over the next hundred years.

Royal Warrant

Soon, Aquascutum overcoats became the favoured choice of Victorian boulevardiers; not only for their propensity to repel rain, but also due to the fact that these garments had become the very height of fashion.


As Britain found itself at War, Aquascutum had a far more important role to play. The company had established itself as not only a fashionable label but also one of quality using innovative fabrics for protection and endurance In 1853, during the Crimean War, Aquascutum supplied coats to protect the soldiers from the bleak Crimean winter.

Aquascutum War Waterproof Items

Today, General Goodlake's coat is preserved at Newstead Abbey where his uniform is on display. During this period, Lord Raglan approached Aquascutum to design a coat which gave his sword arm more freedom of movement. The result was the famous Raglan shoulder used today as a traditional design detail. A generation later came the Great War and once again Aquascutum stepped into the breach and supplied waterproof trenchcoats. In 1917 an Officer found time to write:

 "I should like to say that your coat has given me every satisfaction and has proved itself thoroughly waterproof on every occasion.

 The trenchcoat became a favorite with civilian wearers, personified by movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Today, Aquascutum offers the original trenchcoat as part of their substantial outerwear collection.



The early years of the 20th century were a time of considerable social change, not least of which was the successful campaign for women's suffrage. After almost fifty years of catering exclusively for the needs of its gentleman customers, Aquascutum knew it must move with the times. It thus became one of the first to design fashionable but practical suits or costumes for ladies to cover the whole range of country and sporting activities which they were now able to enjoy.

For Aquascutum the growth and popularity of the company meant a move to larger premises. Aquascutum moved just a few yards from the Mayfair shop to the distinguished address at 100 Regent Street which to this day represents their flagship store.

Regent Street


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